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Texture Lesson 3
Polyphonic Texture -- Rounds, Melodic Ostinati, Imitation

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Another characteristic which is sometimes present in polyphonic music is "imitation." Imitation occurs when each musical voice enters with, or contains similar patterns of pitches, but the melodies are not exactly the same. The example below demonstrates imitation. See if you can hear the melody pattern shown below when it occurs. Click the play arrow to hear the excerpt.

Fugue in D Minor, J. S. Bach

Imitation is characterized by the regular occurrence of the same or similar melodic pitch patterns at different times in different voices.

Melodic Ostinato

An "ostinato" is a repeated pattern of notes, rhythms, or movements which accompanies a melody. A "melodic ostinato" produces polyphonic texture because it is a musical voice which is specifically intended to be performed together with another melody.

A Melodic Ostinato is a short, repeated melody pattern which is intended to be performed together with another melody to produce harmony.

Go on to the Practice Questions for this lesson.

Lesson 3
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